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Narconon, Critics Spar as Hearing Nears

By Michael McNutt
Daily Oklahoman, Enid Bureau
09 April 1992

With a crucial court date coming up next month, representatives of Narconon Chilocco New Life Center are trying to silence their most vocal critics.

Narconon's targets, a local state representative and a Newkirk newspaper publisher, say they will remain vigilant of the facility that has operated two years without state approval at the old Chilocco Indian school about six miles north of Newkirk.

Despite Narconon Chilocco's actions against them, they say the center continues a program the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has found medically unsafe and experimental.

"They're trying to shift the emphasis primarily off of them and onto somebody or anybody else," said Robert Lobsinger, publisher of the weekly Newkirk Herald-Journal. "They have a tradition of trying to assassinate the reputation of their critics."

"Their program is still unsafe and ineffective and they haven't done a thing to improve it. All they've done is attempt to ruin everybody else."

Narconon Chilocco president Gary Smith says he is trying to get a fair hearing by exposing what he says resembles a conspiracy to prevent the center's operation.

"There's a lot of different players in this but they're all kind of hooked together," he said. Since the mental health board denied certification in December, the center's lawyers have gone to court several times to try to keep its doors open.

Narconon Chilocco now is challenging the state's authority because the center is on Indian land and has treated only American Indians since February.

While a Kay County district judge considers a state request to close it, the center's lawyers are gearing up for a May 15 appeal in Oklahoma County District Court of the board's ruling.

In the past several weeks, Narconon Chilocco has tried to discredit Rep. Jim Reese, R-Deer Creek, and Lobsinger.

Narconon lawyers sought telephone records and Lobsinger's files on the center because Lobsinger sent state officials articles about Narconon International, the center's parent organization, and the Church of Scientology, which has ties with Narconon.

Lobsinger eventually complied with a court order last month to answer questions about his correspondence with state officials, but he was not required to turn over his records. However, he may be charged court costs, which could reach about $3,000 with attorney fees.

"Certainly they can break me but that doesn't make their program work any better," Lobsinger said.

The center has issued a news release quoting Oklahoma County District Judge Leamon Freeman describing Lobsinger as "an obnoxious smart alec so and so."

Freeman, who excused himself from the case after receiving mail from Lobsinger said he refused to answer him because "I wouldn't put myself in the gutter with him."

In refusing to release his records, Lobsinger sought protection under state shield laws that protect news reporters.

Oklahoma County District Judge Daniel Owens ordered Lobsinger to answer their questions.

"I'm adamantly opposed to newspaper people using their newspaper as a club and a shield and basically saying they can do anything they want because they are affiliated with the newspaper, and this is what is happening in this case," Owens said.

"This was not a newsman working on a story, but a newsman on a personal crusade." Lobsinger said he did not object to answering questions but "what I didn't want to do was give them free access to all of my records."

The center also issued a news release saying Smith filed a complaint against Reese with the Kay County Republican Party and claimed he was using a public office to advance a personal campaign.

Reese has opposed the center since learning it is connected to the Church of Scientology. In August 1989 Reese said he would do "everything I know how to stop this development" after he received material calling Scientology "the most dangerous religious cult in America."

Smith said Reese is using his office, time and stationery paid by state taxpayers "to spread lies and rumors about the religious beliefs of some Narconon staff."

"If he had his way," Smith said, "Representative Reese would wipe out a successful drug rehab facility just because he disagrees with the religion of some of its staff."

In a complaint to Deanna Hunter of Ponca City, Smith asked for action against Reese to curtail his "offensive and possibly illegal behavior."

Smith said Reese is showing bias by sponsoring legislation to change procedures to certify alcohol and drug abuse facilities.

Hunter answered Smith in a letter calling Reese "one of our outstanding Republican legislators."

"Jim is in good standing with the Kay County Republican Party and he has our full support," Hunter wrote.

Legislation Reese sponsored two years ago eliminated the Oklahoma health Planning Commission, which initially approved Narconon Chilocco, and placed its duties in the state health department.

This session, he is sponsoring a bill to allow the mental health board to use evidence besides information given at public meetings and for the public record.

The evidence could consist of letters, telephone calls or observations by mental health staffers.

"Anything that they (state inspectors) find out there on a site visit should be able to be used," Reese said.

Smith says the center opposes the bill because false information could be submitted against an applicant.

He claims a reason Narconon was denied certification was "communications coming to the board from all over the place, and they were taking it, outside of the realm of what their responsibilities were as an investigative body."

Reese said he does not intend to bow to Narconon pressure.

"They're grasping at straws trying to attack people who have opposed them," he said. Lobsinger says he is not surprised Narconon is lashing out.

"It's predictable," he said.

Lobsinger exposed the center's Scientology ties in early 1989, shortly after it won a certificate of need from the state and announced plans for its 75-bed treatment center. Since then, Lobsinger has written editorials urging the state to close the center.

(Reprinted with permission)

Editorial Opinion - Harold's Journal
09 April 1992 - By RWL

In the 1970s, Maharishi Mehesh Yogi, the guru of Transcendental Meditation, managed to convince many schools, prisons, and even some facets of the US Military that his system of behavior control through TM would eliminate many of their deportment problems, including drug abuse.

Transcendental Meditation is a repackaged version of the ancient Hindu religion. Hindu is as venerable a religion as exists in the world. To repackage this religion and install it as mandatory activity in public schools, prisons, and military institutions, however, is a violation of the principle of separation of church and state. TM advocates claimed the repackaged version was not religion.

TM critics fell into two categories:

One group opposed TM on the basis that it was religious in nature and its use should not be mandated by government.

Another group simply said it didn't work and could even be unsafe. TM had little scientific evidence to counteract that claim.

***
Narconon, the licensee of the Church of Scientology's religious Purification Rundown and related courses, wishes to sell this repackaged Scientology program as a state authorized treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. Narconon's advocates claim the repackaged version is not religion.

Narconon's critics fall into two groups:

Some oppose the certification of Narconon on the basis that it is religious in nature and should not be approved as state authorized treatment because it would violate the principle of separation of church and state.

Others oppose Narconon because they say it is unsafe and ineffective. Narconon can provide no credible independent scientific evidence to the contrary.

***
If, as a religious experience, one wishes to believe he can learn to levitate... or purge contaminates from his body through sweating in a sauna..., so be it. There is no scientific basis for either claim. As religion, there doesn't have to be. Shouldn't be. But as public policy, approved and authorized by the state, there must be. And there isn't.

***
Ultimately, the courts decided that TM was indeed repackaged religion and the practice of establishing mandatory TM training in public facilities ceased in this country.

While Scientology seems to have a long way to go before it gains respect as a venerable religion, the principle remains the same in both cases. It will be interesting to see if the courts can dispense consistent opinions, or if they are just interested in slapping around obnoxious newsmen.

Commission Ignores Narconon Request
For Newkirk Fire, Ambulance Protection

(Exerpt from June 11, 1992 City Commission story)

City Manager David Haynes told the commission that the city has received a request from Narconon asking for fire and ambulance service to their facility at Chilocco. He also passed out copies of a letter from the city attorney of Arkansas City, Otis W. Morrow, to Narconon which said in part, "... the City (of Arkansas City) has concluded it's relationship with (Narconon)... the city will no longer provide fire protection or ambulance service after May 25, 1992."

Morrow's letter cited Narconon's failure to complete a written contract for such services, and its failure to provide any kind of remuneration for services rendered during the past two years as reasons for the termination of services. The commission was uninterested in taking any action on the request.

(notes) In The Meantime...

Most of the action regarding the Narconon story had shifted during April and May to the Oklahoma City area, outside of our territory. Court decisions and other reports were carried across the state by larger newspapers.

In a nutshell, Judge Beekman of Kay County issued a permanent injunction shutting Narconon down for operating without a license. The next day, he gave them 10 days to appeal to the State Supreme Court. The injunction had been sought by the State Health Department. It is now before the state Supreme Court.

Narconon lawyers deposed me per Judge Freeman's order, but I refused to answer on the grounds that the subpoena exceeded the scope of Freeman's order, and took the Shield Law.

Narconon went to Judge Daniel Owens' court to get an order compelling me to answer. Judge Owens compelled me to answer within the scope of Judge Freeman's order. I gave my deposition the same day in Oklahoma City.

Narconon then went back to court to try to collect $7,000.00 in costs and fees because of the "delay" I had caused them by refusing to answer. Judge Owens agreed, but only allowed them $2,150.00. The decision was made not to pay; however citizens in Newkirk held fund-raisers to collect the money, which was sent directly to Judge Owens.

Judge Freeman refused to overturn the Mental Health Board's decision not to certify Narconon. This was the hearing in which my deposition was used by Narconon to try and show a big conspiracy to defraud them of their rights. This matter is also before the Supreme Court.

During this period, the Tonkawa Tribe, one of the five who own Chilocco, has decided to go into the Health Regulation business and set up their own Health Department (probably courtesy of Narconon lawyers) which immediately certified Narconon.

Narconon also applied to CARF (Committee on Accreditation of Rehabilitative Facilities) out of Tuscon, AZ., for accreditation. CARF sent several investigators to Narconon, which immediately hired two of them as "consultants". CARF granted Narconon a one year accreditation.

Narconon has asked for another hearing before the Mental Health Board, hoping to receive an "exception" to the state law requiring state certification because they are accredited by CARF. That hearing is supposed to be in July.

Editorial Opinion - Harold's Journal
25 June 1992 - By RWL

Henry David Thoreau, of Walden's Pond fame, intrudes into my life from time to time. He is not my favorite author, nor my favorite philosopher. I'm not an avid naturalist as was he. I don't even have a pond.

But Thoreau taught me that one of the most important lessons a man can learn in this life is to do what he has to do, when it has to be done, whether he likes it or not.

Thoreau believed strongly in the independence of man. Of his right to think for himself and determine his own destiny free of coercive authoritarianism.

The smart alec old writer landed in jail on account of that kind of thinking. But from all accounts he could sleep with a clear conscience.

Now some judge in Oklahoma City has decided that I'm to pay $2,150.00 for not giving a coercive authoritarian cult free access to my notes and sources.

Like Thoreau, I'm not disposed to paying anyone for the right to keep what is mine. Which means I'm probably looking at a new orange jump suit in Glenn Guinn's Concrete Hilton next to the court house.

It is time, maybe, to quit being a taxpayer and allow the system to feed, clothe, and house me for awhile instead of the other way around.

I could appeal to the Supreme Court, of course, for another $6 to $10 thousand, but it would be imprudent to sell one of my children. Scientology's sharks know that.

One can obviously get all the "due process" one can purchase. Scientology can buy more of it than I can... and probably will. They are now suing practically the rest of the world including the University of California, Time Magazine, Eli Lilly, and Reader's Digest. It's the old "Everybody else is out of step but my Ronnie" syndrome.

We broke the story of Narconon's connection with the cult of Scientology nearly 3 years ago. Since then they have proven by their actions to be equal to the sordid reputation which preceded them to our area. They are masters of deception, magicians of manipulation, and proliferators of propaganda designed to entrap the unwary.

They have pervaded every worthy cause from environmental awareness and tax reform to drug rehabilitation in order to further their own growth. Narconon is but one tentacle.

When Blind Justice cannot see this, ignorant justice is the result, and the legal system fails. Consumers must beware, because they will most certainly be alone.

Those of you who can read, must read! Those of you who can hear, must hear! Those of you who can question, must question! Otherwise, the lure of the cult, with it's ready-made answers to all of life's problems, will be the totalitarianism of the next century. The L. Ron Hubbards of the world will be your dictators.

If this newspaper has provided the information necessary to keep our readers from succumbing to this threat, no matter what the consequences, it has been worth the risk. Except for paying those consequences, my job is mostly complete. I did what I had to do, when I had to do it, whether I liked it or not.

I would like to believe that truth is mighty and will prevail. But as Mark Twain once noted, "There is nothing the matter with this except it ain't so."

I sleep well at night, however. Something sharks and dictators have trouble doing.

Sounding OFF
Letters To The Editor 02 July 1992

To The Editor:

I read with much interest and pride your June 25 editorial opinion. What a privilege to live in a small community with a newspaper editor who is willing to risk his all for what he believes in. We have followed with much interest all the action our local community and the total Kay County community have involved themselves in since the onset of Narconon.

If the Newkirk Community and the Kay County Community were to have a candidate for a "True Patriotic American Citizen" you should be the winner by a country mile.

Thanks again for your involvement in not only the Narconon issue but all issues of importance for the preservation of our American Way.

Sincerely,
Al and Theda Sheets

Editor Risks Jail Rather Than Pay Narconon Court Costs

(ED NOTE: The following appeared on National AP newswire July 4, 1992, but was not reprinted in the Herald Journal. The story originally by Tim Foltz of the Tulsa Tribune was carried by the Tulsa World, Daily Oklahoman, Ponca City News, and other papers across the country.)

NEWKIRK, Okla. (AP) _ Local citizens have opened their wallets in support of a newspaper editor ordered to pay the costs a controversial drug treatment center incurred in forcing him to reveal information about sources for stories on the facility.

"Bob has gone out on a limb to make sure everyone knows what has transpired with Narconon and the Church of Scientology," said Newkirk Mayor Garry Bilger. "We really appreciate what he has done."

Citizens intend to pay the court fees, and already have collected $1,800, Bilger said.

District Judge Daniel Owens in Oklahoma County ordered Robert Lobsinger of the Newkirk Herald Journal on June 9 to pay $2,150.32 in attorney fees to Narconon Chilocco.

Narconon is fighting a state effort to close the unlicensed drug-treatment center, on Indian land near Kansas.

Lobsinger and his 1,500-circulation newspaper have done extensive stories on Narconon and its ties to the Church of Scientology.

The Oklahoma Press Association will defend Lobsinger if the editor asks for its help, OPA manager Ben Blackstock said.

"Narconon jumped in and tried to silence (Lobsinger) in my opinion," Blackstock said. Lobsinger said he'll go to jail rather than pay Narconon's costs.

"I just cannot in good faith pay for this," Lobsinger said. "If they come and get me and take me to jail, I guess that's what will happen. But there's a principle."

District Judge Daniel Owens in Oklahoma County ordered Lobsinger on June 9 to pay $2,150.32 in attorney fees to Narconon Chilocco.

Oklahoma County District Judge Leamon Freeman in February granted Narconon's request to take Lobsinger's deposition on his interviews with state Mental Health Board members about the center.

"The next thing I knew, I was served with a subpoena asking for three years of my phone records, all my contacts, all my correspondence, videotapes and all my notes," Lobsinger said. "Frankly, it scared ... me."

Marie Evans, attorney with the Oklahoma City law firm representing Narconon, said her side did not mean the subpoenas to be invasive.

"We never intended to ask for more than the production of the documents Judge Freeman outlined," Ms. Evans said.

Lobsinger cited the shield law, which protects journalists from revealing some sources, in refusing to give the deposition.

On a motion from Narconon, Owens directed the editor to give the deposition but said Narconon attorneys could ask Lobsinger only about the interviews with state Mental Health Board members.

Owens' June order directed Lobsinger to pay Narconon attorneys' costs of motions against Lobsinger and their car rental to drive to Newkirk to get the deposition.

"The time and expense involved in obtaining what turned out to be a fairly short and simple deposition was oppressive to the plaintiff and cannot be condoned by the court," Owens said in his order.

Lobsinger gave the deposition. He said the order to pay Narconon's legal costs was unfair, but he can't afford to appeal it.

Oklahoma's shield law has never been tested in court, Blackstock said. Lobsinger's case would have been a good time for the OPA to test it, he said.

Sounding OFF
Letters To The Editor 02 July 1992

June 13, 1992

A Resolution Duly Adopted by the Membership of the Chilocco National Alumni Association condemning the Narconon actions toward the Newkirk Herald-Journal...

Whereas, the Narconon organization made certain representations to the Chilocco National Alumni Association which were never fulfilled; and

Whereas, the Chilocco National Association unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the Narconon operation on the former Chilocco Indian School campus; and

Whereas, Mr. Robert Lobsinger, in his capacity as owner and editor of the Newkirk Herald-Journal has diligently made public the activities of the Narconon organization; and

Whereas, the Narconon organization has opposed the public reporting of their activities by the Herald-Journal.

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved the Chilocco National Alumni Association reaffirms its opposition to the Narconon use of the former Chilocco Indian School campus as expressed in the resolution adopted June 9, 1990; and

Be It Further Resolved the action of Narconon against the Newkirk Herald-Journal is condemned as vindictive and irresponsible and an attempt to prevent public disclosure certain actions by Narconon; and

Be It Further Resolved Mr. Robert Lobsinger is commended for his courageous and continuing public reporting of questionable activities by Narconon; and

Be It Finally Resolved the Chilocco National Alumni Association strongly reaffirms its opposition and condemnation of Narconon and its activities on the former Chilocco Indian School campus.

Adopted by Chilocco National Alumni Association
June 13, 1992

Sounding OFF
Letters To The Editor 9 July 1992

To The Editor:
I have just finished reading your article concerning those pesky folks located north of Newkirk. I congratulate you on your dedication in attempting to keep us informed about "Ronnie and his buddies".

Do you suppose that if Narconon was located close to the Oklahoma City area that it's possible the judge would feel differently about the whole situation?

This state has survived quite well without them for sometime and I'm sure the drug problem is more severe in California than in north central Oklahoma. Maybe they need to have it simplified for them: You're not wanted here, or needed. Take your beliefs, idealisms, money and leave. Basically, don't let the door hit you in the butt!

Keep up the good work.
TB
Ponca City

To The Editor:
Check for the Newkirk Defense Fund. We hope it goes over the top and you appeal!
BC
Enid

To The Editor:
Hooray for you! My little check may help some! I feel Narconon is questionable and we don't need more queer places.
Most sincerely,
MB
Ponca City

To The Editor:
I do not have much to give - would like to help so here's my check. Good to have someone fight Narconon.
HPH
Newkirk

To The Editor:
I support you completely. We need more like you.
CJ
Ponca City
(Many other letters of support also printed in July 16th issue)

Editorial Opinion - 9 July 1992
Harold's Journal
By RWL

It is both humbling and heartening to have received such widespread support in the community. We thank you - no matter what the outcome of this situation - from the bottom of our hearts.

It is not difficult to expose the frauds this organization perpetuates on society, but it is sometimes difficult to understand the judicial system that is supposed to protect us from such groups.

We would be appalled if our judicial system allowed an organization convicted of criminal activity in another location to set up shop in our state. But that is just what it is being asked to do.

Within just the past 10 days or so, the "church" of Scientology was convicted in Toronto, Canada of breach of trust for planting spies in the offices of the Ontario Provincial Police and Attorney General's Office, and stealing documents from them.

In Oklahoma, it seems, all they have to do to try and get private information is lumber into a courtroom.

Editorial Opinion - 16 July 1992
Harold's Journal
By RWL

The many letters, cards, and notes sent to the Newkirk Defense Fund continue to come in from across the state and nation.

We have been notified that because of your efforts, the unjust assessment has been paid from those donations; the challenge to our sources has been thwarted, our notes have been protected, and our nose is still here at the grindstone.

It is too little to offer our thanks for your encouragement and support, and your deep understanding of the seriousness of the problem. We have not seen a complete list, nor do we yet know how much money has been raised in our behalf, but be assured that every one will be acknowledged. All 2,000 plus of them.

You are a vast army, educated to carry forward what we have exposed. Scientology is not merely the over-zealous new fangled religion it claims to be, but a political entity determined to either swallow you up or run you down.

Consider the words of L. Ron in Dianetics, page 534:

"Perhaps at some distant date only the unaberrated (Scientologist) person will be granted civil rights before law. Perhaps the goal will be reached at some future time when only the unaberrated person can attain to and benefit from citizenship. These are desirable goals..."

Indeed.

Desirable for whom?

***

To this point, Narconon remains unlicensed by the state of Oklahoma. It is awaiting a decision (maybe in Septermber) by the State Supreme Court on whether or not to enforce a State Health Department injunction to shut them down for operating without a license.

Narconon has also asked for a new trial in Kay County Court since Oklahoma County Court refused to overturn the Mental Health Board's decision not to license them. And in addition, they have asked the Mental Health Board to consider giving them an "exemption" from state law since they have obtained C.A.R.F. accreditation. (And incidentally, they have "hired" the first two C.A.R.F. inspectors sent to evaluate their operation.) These last two items are set for August 14, 1992.

State Board OKs Exemption For Narconon

By Michael McNutt,
Enid Bureau
August 20, 1992

A controversial drug and alcohol abuse center in north-central Oklahoma achieved a big victory Friday in its two-year battle for state approval.

Less than a year after calling Narconon Chilocco New Life Center's treatment program unsafe and experimental, the Oklahoma Board of Mental health and Substance Abuse Services voted unanimously Friday to exempt the facility from a requirement to be certified by the state.

The decision came after Narconon showed it had gained approval from a private organization, the Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. That allows for an exemption under state law, said Patrick Ryan, an attorney representing the board. Ryan said the board's decision was based entirely on the statutory exemption.

"That's different from certifying them," he said. "The board has not ever, and did not by today's action, give a stamp of approval of Narconon. It simply says because of the statute, we're going to recognize it (the exemption)."

Narconon Chilocco still must be licensed by the state Health Department. The state licensing would be based primarily on whether a facility's buildings, which were the old Chilocco Indian School north of Newkirk, meet fire and safety codes.

The health department could rule the center does not need a state license, harry Woods, a lawyer for Narconon Chilocco, said.

"I expect that the department of health will recognize that with this exemption from certification, Narconon can lawfully operate in Oklahoma," Woods said. "The form of the action would either be a license, or a decision by them that we don't need a license." Narconon Chilocco officials said Friday they were confident the center would be licensed, possibly by the end of the month.

Gary Smith, Narconon Chilocco president, said he was pleased the center is the closest yet to being allowed to operate at full capacity.

Smith said Narconon Chilocco will go ahead with plans to operate a 75-bed facility but will wait until the state Health Department rules before accepting new patients.

Those patients would pay more than $20,000 for a three-month program that is based on saunas and vitamins.

Long-range plans call for doubling the center's capacity within the next five years. "We're going to make sure that we're doing this the way we're supposed to," Smith said. After being denied certification last year, Narconon Chilocco limited its operation to accepting Indian patients whose bills were paid by contributors. Smith said Friday there were seven patients and 24 employees.

State mental health board members, who voted in December against Narconon Chilocco, agreed Friday with the center's contention that it was eligible for the exemption because it was accredited in June by the private Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

The state attorney general's office, however, argued against the exemption, saying that the board did not have the authority to exempt a drug and alcohol abuse center based solely on the commission's accreditation.

"The statute says that only a list of certain people can be exempted," said assistant attorney general Guy Hurst. "All others need to be certified."

Hurst said he also does not believe Narconon Chilocco is eligible for licensing by the state Health Department because the center was not certified by the mental health board.

"The way I read the statute is the only way you can get licensed from the health department is to be certified - if you're exempted from certification you can't get licensed," he said. Lawyers for the state health department were unavailable for comment.

Narconon Chilocco accreditation expires in June 1993. If it fails to get accredited next year, it likely will have to return to the state mental health board to ask for certification, officials said. Woods, who guided Narconon Chilocco through several state hearings and lawsuits, said the center plans to drop two lawsuits it filed against the state mental health board.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Newkirk said many residents were disappointed by the state mental health board's action.

Many in the town said they were opposed to Narconon Chilocco because of its ties with the Church of Scientology. Some said they were threatened after they spoke against it in 1990.

Garry Bilger said residents felt helpless as their concerns about Narconon Chilocco's treatment program and the safety of patients seemed to be lost in legal arguments made by Narconon Chilocco to state officials and in subsequent lawsuits filed against the state.

"It got so tangled in regulations and laws and rules," he said. "We would like to see them gone from this area because we definitely do not agree with some of the things that they're doing."

(Reprinted from the Saturday Oklahoman & Times, August 15, 1992. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Narconon Granted Health DepartmentLicense
From State Health Agency

(Not Mental Heath Department Certification)

(The following is reprinted with permission from the Daily Oklahoman, Tuesday, October 27, 1992.)

By Michael McNutt
Enid Bureau

It's been described as controversial, weird, unsafe and strange, but now Narconon Chilocco New Life Center can be called licensed.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health issued a license Monday to the drug and alcohol abuse center, marking the first time since it opened for business more than two years ago that it officially can be called legal. The president of Narconon Chilocco called it a milestone.

The license issued Monday dealt with the structures and buildings making up Narconon Chilocco, located on the campus of the old Chilocco Indian school about six miles north of Newkirk. The license is good for a year and can be renewed.

The center passed an inspection last week that looked at the conditions of buildings and food and sanitary services to see that fire safety and health codes are being met, said Brent VanMeter, the health department's deputy commissioner for special health services. Gary Smith, president of Narconon Chilocco, said plans are being made to get the center ready to accommodate as many as 75 patients at a time.

"Receiving this license from the department of health signifies a milestone in our desire and original intention to supply drug and alcohol rehabilitation services to those in need," he said. "Our purpose has always been to help those with drug and alcohol problems. "We are just very excited," Smith said.

Narconon Chilocco opened in February 1990. Its critics questioned its ties with the Church of Scientology and were skeptical of its treatment plan that includes spending time in saunas and taking special vitamins and supplements.

Members of the Oklahoma State Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, before deciding a legal loophole allowed the center to bypass board certification, called Narconon Chilocco's treatment plan experimental and medically unsafe. State licensing makes it easier for Narconon Chilocco or its patients to get reimbursement for its services through insurance companies.

Smith said plans continue to be developed to double the size of its patient beds, but no application would be filed until after the center's census reaches and stays around 75 patients. The center had 14 patients Monday, Smith said. Most of the patients were from various Indian tribes. Narconon Chilocco has limited treatment primarily to Indians since the mental health board voted not to certify its treatment plan last December and while various court appeals and cases were pending.

Smith said he is unsure when the center will reach capacity. Narconon Chilocco's program lasts about three months and costs $22,750.

State licensing became possible after the mental health board in August granted Narconon Chilocco an exemption from certification because its program was accredited by a private agency, the Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

The accreditation runs through June 1993 and the exemption from mental health board certification will continue as long as Narconon Chilocco is accredited by the commission. Newkirk Mayor Garry Bilger said a majority of residents in town still challenge the center's effectiveness and purpose.

 (notes) Meanwhile...

On Monday, October 9, 1992 the Herald Journal received a call from a frightened and distraught young lady who said her mother was Edith Clark who works at Narconon. She told the usual horror stories about her mother not being paid on time, if ever. Long hours of overtime at no pay. Unpaid bonuses, etc.

She said there were several non-Scientologist employees there all of whom were wanting to leave, but couldn't because they had no money and no way to get out. She relayed other stories as well, but they were all second hand, about "trainees" at Narconon wading waist deep in the sewer lagoon raking sewage out so it would appear to be working properly; about bad food and vermin infestation; about child abuse and neglect....

I suggested she visit with Brent Van Meter at the Health Department, and she said she had already talked with him. When I talked with Van Meter later, he confirmed her story, but said his inspectors probably wouldn't find anything wrong unless they caught them in the act. He said he was thinking of applying for a special appropriation to keep an inspector on the site permanently.

On Tuesday, October 27, Edith Clark, Jean Chance, Mr. and Mrs. Gene McCormick, their niece Carol Shumate, and another man not associated with Narconon called me - interrupted a phone call with an emergency message, in fact - wanting to come to the office and tell their stories. It was the day after Narconon was issued their Health Department license.
I stalled them off until the next day, and then set up an interview for them with Channel 5, Channel 9, and McNutt of the Daily Oklahoman.

On Wednesday afternoon, they arrived and confirmed everything Clark's daughter had told me the week before. They had been allowed to leave as soon as the license was in place. They think they quit, but it appears to be a concerted effort by Scientology to starve them out. All of them agreed that Narconon was moving in more and more Scientology staff people to take their places.

McNutt's story in the Thursday, October 29, 1992 Daily Oklahoma tells part of their story....

Late Narconon Pay, Tie to Scientology Hit

By Michael McNutt
Daily Oklahoman, Enid Bureau
Thursday, October 29, 1992

NEWKIRK - Several former employees of Narconon Chilocco New Life Center criticized the facility Wednesday for failing to promptly pay their salaries and overtime, and claimed that the recently licensed drug and alcohol abuse facility is a front for the Church of Scientology.

Gene McCormick, who quit as Narconon Chilocco's chief of security on Monday, and Edith Clark, whose duties included head of international training, had the harshest words for the 75 bed facility when the group met with reporters Wednesday in a downtown Newkirk building.

Clark said Narconon Chilocco owed her an undetermined amount of back wages because she said the facility refused to pay her overtime even though she says she worked 60 to 70 hours a week.

Clark, who worked at Narconon Chilocco for 19 months, said she has complained to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Most employees are paid minimum wage and have to sign contracts, Clark said. Many are required to read material that comes from the Church of Scientology. "It's a front for Scientology," McCormick said.

More Scientologists are scheduled to arrive at the facility shortly, he said.
Narconon Chilocco president Gary Smith called comments from his former employees unfortunate.

"In the last 2 1/2 years we have employed over 300 people and now there a few that are complaining," Smith said in a statement. "It's unfortunate that anyone would continue to oppose our efforts to get people off drugs.

"We are a licensed facility and have passed all tests and inspections, I can find 1,000 supporters of Narconon Chilocco for each detractor," he said. "We are open and we will continue to get people off drugs."

Bruce Pyle, a public information officer at the facility confirmed McCormick and Clark worked at the facility.

Smith has denied any ties with the Church of Scientology.

However, Narconon Chilocco staff members said during public hearings last year that some materials from the late L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, are used in some drug and alcohol rehabilitation courses.

McCormick said he never was approached to join the Church of Scientology, but he has seen Scientology literature given to staff and trainees. Pictures of Hubbard are hung in each of the buildings but religious pictures or books are banned at the facility, he said.

Clark said she was asked several times to read Scientology material, and she believes Narconon Chilocco is being used as a recruiting tool by the Church of Scientology.

"Why would they make me study it if it's not a front for Scientology?" she said. "If it's not Scientology, why would they force the people to study it"

"The whole point is they want to turn anybody there into a Scientologist."

McCormick called Narconon Chilocco disorganized, and said he has seen a number of former students who completed the program return because they failed to stay off drugs or alcohol.

He said it was common for trainees to walk the six miles from the Narconon Chilocco campus to Newkirk to go to bars and drink beer.

McCormick said Narconon Chilocco has trouble keeping patients. Some leave a week or two after arriving because of austere conditions.

Clark said living quarters are not air-conditioned, and dining and kitchen facilities were dirty. She said she often saw cockroaches in the kitchen.

Hamburgers and hot dogs make up most meals, she said, for staff and for patients who pay $22,750 for a three-month course.

"For people that pay the amount of money they do to come through the rehab center is ridiculous," Clark said.

She said some trainees at the facility have contagious diseases and some lack proper immigration cards.

McCormick said he quit after two-and-a-half years because of late pay.

(notes) ---On December 1, 1992, the United States Department of Labor Office in Tulsa confirmed that there was an investigation underway regarding the cases of at least one of the non-Scientology employees who had left Chilocco following their Health Department licensing. Results of the investigation are unknown at this time and it may be late December or early next year before they can be obtained through the Freedom of Information act.

Reports have come in, unconfirmed as yet, that the remaining few non-Scientology employees at Narconon have been asked to leave, including Bill Grant and his wife, who are supposed to be some kind of relatives to Garry Smith's wife.---

Narconon's State Taxes Overdue; Warrant Filed

By Michael McNutt
Daily Oklahoman, Enid Bureau
Thursday, Feb. 25, 1993, Pg 4


NEWKIRK -- A drug and alcohol abuse center that fought more than two years to get a state license apparently needed to be reminded to pay its state taxes.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission this week filed a tax warrant against Narconon Chilocco New Life Center stating that it failed to pay almost $3,000 in unemployment compensation taxes last year.

Gary Smith, Narconon Chilocco's president, said Wednesday that failure to pay the tax was an oversight.

"It should have been paid," Smith said. "it's just an administrative oversight but it's being taken care of now."

Smith said the non-profit facility plans to pay the overdue tax this week.

The warrant, filed Tuesday, states Narconon Chilocco failed to pay $2,999 in unemployment compensation taxes for the second and third quarters of 1992.

Narconon Chilocco also was hit with a $364 penalty and was charged $74 in interest on the overdue tax.

The warrant seeks a total payment of $3,438.

After a series of delays, the Oklahoma State Department of Health issued a license last fall to Narconon Chilocco, which opened for business more than two years earlier.

Narconon Chilocco is located on the campus of the old Chilocco Indian School about six miles north of Newkirk.

***

Saturday, Feb. 27, 1993
Saturday Oklahoman & Times, Pg 11:

Narconon Chilocco Pays Taxes

NEWKIRK -- A drug and alcohol abuse center has paid its delinquent tax bill. Narconon Chilocco New Life Center paid $3,438 in overdue unemployment compensation taxes and penalties to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, according to a warrant filed Thursday in Kay County District Court.

Narconon Chilocco settled its delinquent tax two days after the state commission filed a claim seeking payment.

Narconon Chilocco President Gary Smith said that failure to pay the tax was an oversight. The employment commission filed the warrant against Narconon Chilocco because the center failed to pay $2,999 in unemployment compensation taxes for the second and third quarters of 1992.

Narconon Chilocco also was hit with a $364 penalty and was charged $74 in interest on the overdue tax.

Editorial Opinion - 12 November 1992
Harold's Journal
By RWL

Last weekend, we had the very great pleasure of attending the annual national convention of the Cult Awareness Network. This year it was held in Los Angeles. You'll remember Oklahoma City hosted the event last year, where I was asked to speak, and was honored to receive the Leo J. Ryan Award.

Congressman Leo J. Ryan died in his attempt to find the truth about Jim Jones and the People's Temple cult in Jonestown, Guyana. Over 900 people, under the mind controlling influence of Jim Jones, committed suicide at his request. Those who didn't were murdered, along with Congressman Ryan and several others. That tragic event took place the same year we came to Newkirk to publish the Newkirk Herald Journal.

The Ryan Award is presented each year to the person "who exhibits extraordinary courage, tenacity and perseverance in the battle against tyranny over the mind of man."

And so it was with great satisfaction that we were present this year to see the award presented to Rich Behar, Associate Editor of Time Magazine, for his courageous 1991 story on Scientology, which we were pleased to reprint in full shortly thereafter.

Mr. Behar most surely deserves the award. He has attempted to do for our nation what we have tried to do for Newkirk and Oklahoma. We applaud his work, and we hope his efforts inspire others in the national media to delve deeply into this subject matter, instead of treating such subjects as humorous, harmless kooks.

The conference was marred by a few picketing members of Scientology who mostly made themselves look like the southbound ends of northbound horses.

Among those speaking at the conference were Dr. Robert J. Cialdini, professor of psychology at Arizona State University and author of the book Influence. His presentation was interrupted by a false fire alarm.

The presentation by Dr. Louis Jolyon West, M.D., professor of psychiatry at UCLA, was delayed by the vain attempt of cult members to have him arrested so he couldn't speak. Dr. West is also a former Ryan Award winner.

They arrogantly attempted to confound the registration of guests at the conference in order to disrupt and delay the first presentation of the conference, which was successfully delivered by Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer, Ph. D. She is an Adjunct Professor in the department of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, and a past Ryan Award winner.

Speaker at the Leo J. Ryan Award Banquet was the original host of the "Tonight Show", Mr. Steve Allen. Mr. Allen also happens to be a member of the Cult Awareness Network Advisory Board, and himself the father of a cult victim, now successfully recovered from the experience. It was our pleasure to be invited to join Mr. Allen at the speakers table during the banquet. A new and strong supporter of the efforts of the Cult Awareness Network is Mr. Mike Ferrell of M.A.S.H. fame, who spoke briefly to the audience of his advocacy of human rights and strong family commitments. He attended with his teenaged son.

Not all celebrities are nuts, after all.

It can only be a testament to the effectiveness of the Cult Awareness Network in spreading the truth about dangerous and destructive cults that Scientology has currently filed over 30 lawsuits against the organization in an attempt to "legally" silence its supporters. When all it really has to do is quit acting like a destructive cult.

Lobsinger Wins Beachy Musselman Award For Research Of Narconon Facility Near Newkirk

The Oklahoma Publisher
February 1993

Bob Lobsinger, editor and publisher of the Newkirk Herald-Journal, was the 1993 recipient of the annual Beachy Musselman Award.

The award was presented at the OPA (Oklahoma Press Association) Mid-Winter Convention, Feb. 4-7, in Oklahoma City.

Lobsinger has owned the Herald-Journal since 1978.

For three years he reported on the Church of Scientology and Narconon. His relentless research turned up ties between the church and Narconon, a drug rehabilitation facility that developed a drug treatment facility at the nearby old Chilocco Indian School.

The facility, which had been a residential school for Indians for many years, had fallen into disuse. The Chilocco Development Authority, composed of representatives of four (sic - actually five) area Indian tribes, leased the school site to Narconon in 1989.

As Narconon fought to obtain a state license for the center, Lobsinger reported extensively on the center and its connections to the Church of Scientology in the Herald-Journal.

In February 1992, Narconon attorneys were granted a request to take depositions from Lobsinger on his interviews with state Mental health Board members about the center.

He was then served with a subpoena asking for three years of phone records, all contacts, all correspondence, videotapes and notes.

Lobsinger refused to give the deposition, citing the shield law.

An Oklahoma County district judge upheld the motion, but said Narconon attorneys could ask Lobsinger about the interviews with the state Mental Health Board members. The judge then indicated Lobsinger could be held responsible for the costs and fees because Narconon's attorneys were not told before the deposition that he would decline to answer questions.

On June 9, 1992, Lobsinger was ordered to pay $2,150.32 in attorney fees for Narconon. (When Lobsinger refused to pay) Community residents supported Lobsinger's position and raised money to pay his fine.

In 1991, he received the Leo J. Ryan Award from the Cult Awareness Network for his coverage of the Narconon Center.

A 1962 graduate of Enid (Memorial) High School, Lobsinger attended Phillips University; the University of Georgia; University of Maryland; Oklahoma State University, and Northern Oklahoma College at Tonkawa (sic - not entirely accurate).

After being discharged from the U.S. Army as a staff sergeant, he worked for several Florida newspapers, the Enid News and Eagle, Atlanta (Ga.) Journal Constitution and the Ponca City News. (sic - chronology not accurate)

He and his wife Susan have four children: Michael Robert, Judy Sue, John Allen and Steven Richard.

The Beach Musselman Award is presented annually by the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation from a gift in memory of the late Norman Beachy Musselman, publisher of the Shawnee News-Star from 1945 to 1963 and president of OPA in 1962.

The $750 award, donated by N. Burkey Musselman, son of the newspaperman, is now in its 19th year.

Narconon's Trash Service Halted

By Michael McNutt
Oklahoman & Times, Enid Bureau
Saturday, March 6, 1993

NEWKIRK -- An official of a sanitation company said Friday the firm has stopped trash and garbage pickup service for a drug and alcohol abuse center because it failed to pay its bill.

Gary Davis, owner of Davis Sanitation of Tonkawa, said Narconon Chilocco New Life Center has not paid its trash service bill in more than four months.

"We just felt like we couldn't let them get behind any more than they were," Davis said. Davis said his company earlier this week removed its four trash dumpsters that Narconon Chilocco had been using for its trash and garbage.

"I don't know what they've got going on up there but we've had an awful time," he said. "We've always had to call them and just plead with them to pay their bill and they say that they're waiting for somebody to donate some money." Narconon Chilocco owes about $1,800, Davis said.

Gary Smith, president of Narconon Chilocco, said he was unaware there was a problem with paying the facility's trash bill. "I don't handle that end of it," Smith said.

"All I know is we've got dumpsters out here. I don't know what exactly happened. It's the estate manager's job. We're fine on the trash."

Smith said he did not know whose trash dumpsters were on the grounds of his center. "It's a little out of my area," he said.

Davis said his company is the primary trash service in rural Kay County areas. Trash service would resume to Narconon Chilocco, located on the campus of the old Chilocco Indian school about six miles north of Newkirk, if and when the facility pays its outstanding bill, Davis said.

"We're not coming back until they pay us up," he said.

If no effort is made to pay the bill shortly, the company likely will file a suit in Kay County District Court in order to get payment, Davis said.

Delinquent payment of bills during 1991 was one concern state officials had when they considered a request from Narconon Chilocco to be licensed.

Concerns about Narconon Chilocco's financial stability was one reason the center's application was denied by the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Narconon Chilocco eventually obtained a state license last year after it received accreditation from a private nonprofit group.

Last week, Narconon Chilocco paid $3,438 in overdue unemployment compensation taxes and penalties to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

Narconon Chilocco settled its delinquent tax two days after the state commission filed a claim seeking payment.

Smith said that failure to pay the tax was an oversight.

The unemployment security commission filed the warrant against Narconon Chilocco because the facility failed to pay $2,999 in unemployment compensation taxes for the second and third quarters of 1992.

Narconon Chilocco also was hit with a $364 penalty and was charged $74 in interest on the overdue.

Indian Leaders Want Narconon Chilocco Audit

By Michael McNutt
Daily Oklahoman, Enid Bureau
Thursday, March 25, 1993

NEWKIRK -- Some Indian leaders are disappointed with the amount of revenue being generated by a drug and alcohol abuse treatment center that promised to pay five tribes millions of dollars over the next two decades.

As a result, the leaders of the Kaw and Pawnee tribes have asked the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to audit the Narconon Chilocco New Life Center to determine whether the non-Indian facility is meeting payment terms of a 25-year lease.

In 1989, Narconon Chilocco leaders said it would pay the five tribes of the Chilocco Development Authority $16 million during the next 25 years in return for leasing the old Chilocco Indian school for a 75-bed drug and alcohol abuse treatment center.

"At the rate we're going, we won't even get a million," said Wanda Stone, Kaw tribal chairwoman.

Stone said payments the tribes receive from Narconon Chilocco usually are tardy.

"They haven't paid us with a payment since last September," she said.

Stone and Robert Chapman, chairman of the Pawnee tribe's business committee, said the Indian tribes must depend on Narconon Chilocco to provide figures to determine lease payments.

Narconon Chilocco agreed on lease payments based on the number of patients and the amount of money patients pay per month.

Payment schedules for patients range from no charge for low-income Indians to about $30,000 for a three-month treatment.

"There's no scale of any kind that we can base what we should be getting," Stone said. "All we know is what they send us."

Narconon Chilocco's plans to develop the facility were stalled for more than two years while it tried to get state approval.

Stone said an audit released by Narconon Chilocco showed it had underpaid about $4,600 to the authority through September.

However, an analysis by a former financial officer of the Kaw tribe on Narconon Chilocco's figures showed the facility owed more than $133,000, Stone said.

"A lot of it was, expenses that they took out were not allowable," she said.
There is no provision in the lease for an independent audit.

Gary Smith, Narconon Chilocco president, said the facility's audit is accurate. The BIA has the right to conduct an audit of his facility. He said questions about Narconon Chilocco's audit are based on "misinterpretation of the actual audit," Smith said.

He said he did not know the amount of money his facility has paid in lease payments the past three years but said it was more than $150,000.

Smith said Stone's and Chapman's allegations were made to cover up the fact that the BIA has been asked to audit financial records of the development authority.

"It's nothing more than a smoke screen from anybody that might have something that they might be a little nervous about," Smith said.

Stone said the Narconon Chilocco audit was prepared on plain paper without letterhead or other information stating who conducted the audit.

Chapman and Stone reported the information to about 30 members of the Pawnee, Ponca, Otoe-Missouria, Kaw and Tonkawa tribes, each of which has a representative on the authority.

"We wanted tribal members to understand that we're not stealing from them... We just haven't received our fair share, as we have always suspected," Chapman said.

(notes) In October 1999, Kaw Tribal Chairman Wanda Stone indicated to the Herald Journal that an Indian Court had ordered Narconon to vacate the facilities at Chilocco within three years. The judge also authorized increases in lease payments until Narconon moved out, and told the tribes that if Narconon refused to leave, the tribes could evict them, according to Stone.

In early 2002, Narconon announced that it had "outgrown" facilities at Chilocco and that it was moving to Arrowhead Lodge in eastern Oklahoma. The facility there was once owned by the State of Oklahoma, was sold to an Indian tribe, and subsequently purchased by the Association For Better Living and Education (ABLE), a Scientology organization. ABLE was reportedly leasing the facility to Narconon, which quietly moved out of Chilocco a few months later.

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